The Christmas Book Collection
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The Christmas Book Collection
The Christmas Book by Sheherazade Goldsmith
This book follows on from "A Slice of Organic Life" which was a very sweet book with lots of proper advice
about beginning to keep chickens, make your own compost, etc.
However this book is a lot weaker than the previous title. The pictures aren't tempting, especially of the dried orange tree
decorations - they look (to me) disgusting, old and dried up! It also has some factual errors such as claiming that if your
Christmas tree goes to landfill it will take "hundreds of years" to rot down. Hmmmm.... And many of the craft projects
are the kind of thing where it looks like a good idea at the time (making felt birds for the Christmas tree); but where
eventually you realise it's going to take about 3 days of solid work and a lot of shopping and money to make these
so-called "simple and homely" decorations...
If you are a real fan of Sheherezade you might enjoy the book but NB that she was the editor, rather than the writer, and
the only bit copyrighted by her is the introduction - she is clearly credited on the cover as "editor in chief", not the author.
I totally agree with what Village Preservation Society says in her review - it's sweet, and it's a goal we all want to aim
for. But honestly, lots of the stuff (like sticking dried seed heads to a photo album cover) look as if they will fall apart
instantly, which nobody wants! Sorry to be so down on the book, because it's a nice idea, but it's just NOT done nicely
enough for me to give it more of a recommendation.
Christmas at Harrington's by Melody Carlson
This is a pretty short tale, with lots of warmth and hope, a bit of sadness followed by happiness,
suspicion followed by exoneration, a feeling of 'yes!' a few times, and with with feel-good moments. Totally suited to this time of year.
It's SO not the kind of tale that I would normally read, but it was free, so I decided to read it with an open mind, and
found myself perking up and getting into it in around three pages when the author revealed that the main character was an
ex-con who had just gotten out of prison, shortly before Xmas.
I kind of thought that I would end up skim-reading it just to be able to finish it and prove to myself that it hadn't been a
waste of my time, but this was a really good read. Yes, it was a touch cheesy, but it had several characters and occurrences
that restored faith in the ex-con's life, and she herself was not what she seemed, in the very nicest way. It wasn't all
sweetness and roses, and times were hard, but time and time again I got to see the goodness of human nature, and I think that both God and Santa played some part in the tale.
My only tiny whinges with this are that 1) the font and formatting are pretty awful, and 2) it ended so abruptly that
I thought that I must have missed a page, as one minute I was reading, and then the end of that paragraph turned into info about the author.
Still, it was an ending that was full of hope, and with the beginnings, though admittedly cheesily, of a HEA.
A really good read, which I would have overlooked - my loss - if it hadn't been a freebie.
Christmas Magic by Cathy Kelly
A festive collection of short stories by the natural heir to Maeve Binchy
Cathy Kelly, the number 1 best-selling Irish author, has created her first collection of heart-warming short
stories. Christmas Magic is full of charming tales of life, love and the everyday dilemmas that we all face,
all told in Cathy's warm voice.
From Dolores and Genevieve, two spinster sisters who must finally break free from their mother's powerful
personality, to Alice, who is facing having to open her home and her heart to the one visitor that she doesn't
want this Christmas, from a captivating family story triggered by a letter to Lily's disastrous arrival at
her best friend's wedding, these are stories to make you laugh, cry and nod in recognition.
Relax and unwind in front of a roaring fire and indulge yourself in these, and many other humorous and uplifting
tales. Remember that Christmas comes but once a year, so let the magic reel you in...
The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder
Fifty years ago a girl disappeared from her home in Norway. She ran after a lamb and found herself
travelling right across Europe to Palestine, and back through 2000 years to meet the Holy Family in Bethlehem. There she met
angels, shepherds, wise men and other biblical characters who joined her on her pilgrimage; and she heard of many of the
things that happened in the world in the last 2000 years. In present-day Norway, a boy acquires a strange old Advent
calendar. Hidden in each of the windows is a tiny piece of paper. Little by little these pieces unfold the girl's story
and as we learn what happened to her, another story is revealed - that of the strange old man who made the calender.
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If you want to put some Magic into a child's Christmas, get this book and read it, one day at a time: It is the best Advent story since Dickens.
This year I did just that - for myself, and the feelings, of warmth and excitement generated made the darker days of winter
a little lighter. Like the little boy in the story, I wanted to know the ending, and like the boy, I didn't want it to end.
Each 'chapter' is given a date, starting on the first day of December. There are 24 chapters, and, as it opens - like a
flower, or like detective story - new ideas, new questions and new meanings are given to what has almost become a cliche, the Christmas Story and the power generated by it.
You cross Europe, you cross history. You are involved in serious questions - that of refugees, and of lost children,
and of power - issues presented in a way a child can start to make sense of if presented in this simple, but not naive, way.
I am not, by the way, a Christian: Nor am I a child. But I really enjoyed this book.
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